Leaving a legacy

Barbara Smethurst’s time at Manchester left a lasting impression and helped shape her career. She’s leaving a legacy gift to the University to give others the opportunity to study here and gain similar benefits and experiences during their time at Manchester.

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Barbara is a three-time University of Manchester graduate, having gained her Certificate in Education, followed by her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education. She spent 12 years working in industry before studying full-time for her Certificate in Education and it was then that she decided to undertake further studies in the future. This was because she really saw the benefits of studying at the University, both in terms of academic learning and in critical thinking.

“I loved being a student; as part of my courses, I learnt about the psychology, philosophy and management of education, which opened doors for me in terms of the way I thought about and dealt with things. All my studies before this revolved around the knowledge and skills I would need to succeed as a subject teacher but, when I undertook these courses, it made me think in a much wider, different way, enabling me to improve my thought processes.”

Cultural melting pot

Barbara enjoyed a long and distinguished career teaching students from a variety of ages and backgrounds, and it is that diversity that she values at The University of Manchester.

“When I visit the University, I meet young people from all over the world who tell me what they are doing and what they hope to do in the future. They are so full of enthusiasm, energy and pride in what they are doing, and pride in the University itself.

“The University is amazing, expanding all the time, with more and more world-class facilities. But it is not just about the buildings; it is the life itself within those buildings. The energy and the positivity impress me.

“It is good to have a mix of local people and those coming from further afield to establish a two-way knowledge exchange. People learn from each other; whether it is history, culture or something else.”

Leaving a legacy gift

Barbara is one of thousands of supporters who choose to donate regularly to the University and she has also pledged a gift in her Will to support student scholarships at the University, not only to increase the number of opportunities for young people to further their education and personal growth, but to foster a greater understanding between different faiths, races and cultures.

“Given how much I benefited from studying at the University and the way it influenced and informed me, I decided that I wanted to leave a legacy that would pass on the same opportunities that I received, to others. My late husband was also a teacher, so the gift reflects both our long careers in education.”

A wider process

Barbara feels strongly that the education young people receive at university goes beyond what they are taught in lectures and seminars; it also stems from the surrounding environment, especially in a cultural ‘melting pot’ such as Manchester.

“I really wanted to help give people not only the opportunity to study a body of knowledge, but also the chance to meet many different people which could lead to them widening their views and help them value people who, on the surface, might seem quite different to them. There is no better place to do this, I believe, than in Manchester, which is so accepting and inclusive of other religions and ethnicities.”

Given the lasting impression that Manchester has had on her, Barbara is in no doubt that the opportunities she will provide with her legacy gift will benefit young people in the short and long term.

“It’s a wider process at university than just learning the subject. A lot of students at Manchester won’t necessarily stay here after graduating. They might go elsewhere and hopefully take some of that education with them into their lives and their work and influence other people.

“It is my dearest wish that people from all races, religions and cultures will live in harmony and peace and I believe that education is crucial to achieving this.”

Many alumni and friends like Barbara have chosen to build on the long history of charitable giving to the University by including a gift to Manchester in their Will. If you would be interested in doing the same or would like to read more in our legacy pack, contact Rob Summers, Head of Development, on rob.summers@manchester.ac.uk or +44 (0) 161 275 2192.

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